So we talked yesterday! It was awesome but way short but super good to see you all and get to meet Daniela! Sorry we didn't get to talk long.
I guess I'll just go into some details about this week and then leave it for the next.
This week was very busy becasue we had 3 baptisms in the zone and so it was pretty hectic with 3 different interviews and all the intercambio craziness that comes with that etc. Especially a baptism in Boca Sur was very hectic because he had to get permission to be confrimed the same day because he was going to travel home to another city and go to church there on Sunday and there were some miscommunications between the missionaries, the mission office, and the stake presidency but at the end of the day P. got baptized. I got to do his interview and it was super easy for him and he will probably be a missionary next year. We went to the service too which was fun. He is giant too so it was cool to see Elder G. baptize him and it kind of sent waves around the font hahaah.
That day I got to spend w Elder H. from San Antonio Chile and we worked in Boca Sur and I got to see a ton of old good friends and I kind of missed that sector for a little. I also found out that this less active family that I helped reactivate one of their daughter's baptismal record might be lost so she might have to get baptized again! it was a huge surprise so I might get to go to her baptismal service and do her interview too hahahaha. Elder H> is a great friend too and he could maybe become a comp of mine someday because he will probably be a zone leader soon. I've always wanted a Chilean companion as well.
M's baptismal service was great. She passed the interview no problem. She actually had quite a bit of opposition the day before but was really committed to her goal and was baptised and confirmed this week. She's a really funny lady who really speaks her mind hahaha. Her daughter R. is next.
We had a great Christmas Eve and Christmas day too. We actually had to work quite a bit and didn't get much time off but surprisingly we had a ton of success and a lot of good lessons and new investigators. A few families too! We will see where it all goes this week.
Two English students ( I think I mentioned them) came to the ward activity Friday night and then we got a lesson with them Saturday with the 2nd counselor who gave us the reference in the first place. They were kind of iffy about coming to church and totally surprised us by showing up Sunday morning! It was awesome.
The zone isn't doing too hot and definitely not seeing the miracles we are. After thinking a lot about it I think it's a problem about not being very committed to obedience and not really having faith that there can be progress in their different areas. I've been thinking a lot about obedience and the spirit and how to help them all progress in that aspect other than just giving a good example. One scripture that has really stuck out to me has been Helaman 3:35 that talks about turning our hearts over to God and letting him purify them. I think that has a lot to do with our desires changing and giving our will to Him. I've learned a lot these last few months that when we commit ourselves to obey we can have the total security that God will bless us so having faith becomes way easier. The spirit enters our lives much more as well. I still have to study and think about this more to know how to help them all or I think January will be a rough month for us. Regardless me and Elder O. are pretty stoked about everything that is happening here too.
Ok that's about it but I love you all so much!!! I'll write better next week but I'm going to try and upload some pictures etc! It was so so fun to talk to you and I love your letters!!!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok this week was good and I'm kind of struggling to remember details so I'll do my best!
The week started out pretty good but just kind of normal. We have been teaching M. and K. a bunch and they're progressing really well. M. is set to get baptized this Friday so we are super stoked! We made some cool invitations and stuff like that, so it was fun! She is really excited and super funny too. The week of a baptism is always the most stressfull by far so we have a lot to do and to worry about this week so I'm going to try and relaz today on pday while I can hahaha. We went over the baptismal interview questions with M. yesterday and we need to race to clear some stuff up before her interview but honestly it's pretty much always like that with a baptismal candidate. I mean we started teaching her 5 weeks ago so it's understandable that she has forgotton some stuff. But it's all good. Honestly she is just so desirous to be baptized that I feel like that qualifies her the most. She really wants to leave her past in the past and forget it and that's exactly what baptism offers her.
K. is good too and also really wants to be baptised but didn.t make it to church yesterday for some emergency of a friend or something. She is also really excited to change and make up for her mistakes as well. It.s been really cool that with both of them the focus of our teaching and their learning has really been about repentance and not just boring doctrinal points. I think it.s been a result of us always focusing on and making very clear the blessings of living the gospel, and at the end of the day almost everyone can relate to and desire those blessings, especially when the spirit gives testimony of those blessings being true and desirable.
Wednesday we had the mission-wide Christmas conference which was really fun! It was cool to see so many good friends and see how they are doing. It was a very spiritual devotional as well and had a great focus on Christ and His glory etc. My old comp Elder Gomez from Argentina did a clown show with another Elder from the Dominican Republic and got Pres May to get up and be silly and it was killer and really really funny. There were some really great musical numbers and I got to lead the music for one of the hymns so it was super cool to lead the entire 200 missionaries in singing. We got our packages too of course. It was a really hot bus journey from Saint Peter to Angol for like 3 hours but it was fun to go on a road trip too with the whole zone.
The rest of the week was pretty normal honestly. Thursday we had some precious planning time in the morning to be able to think about the next month or so in the zone and we put together some cool plans. Today as a zone we are going to have a white elephant gift exchange and other stuff so that will be fun.
Now as a house me Elders Oxborrow, Meiling and Cheney have been living together for like 8 weeks so the silliness is creeping into the house and there have been many shananagins. They are all great friends and honestly the Christmas activity made me realize that I already live with 3 of my best friends in the entire mission and how blessed I am for that. It was also weird to see in Angol how much the missionaries I came to the mission with and others have changed, for better or for worse. I feel like those who really have focused in on and trusted in our purpose as missionaries and really tried to magnify their callings in the right way have progressed and changed a ton for the better, while others just seem kind of sad and bored for other reasons. It goes along with a scripture that me and Elder Oxborrow have been pondering a ton this week which is 2 Nephi 2:27.
We built this shelf in M's backyard which was fun and gave me a little nostalgia for working on sets in SCHS. It was fun.
Shoot I can't think of much else sorry.
I think what I've been learning this week is about this particular phrase in my patriarchal blessing that mentions how the Holy Ghost can prepare us to enjoy the blessings of mortality. At first I didnt really get it but now I feel like the Spirit's presence in my life doesn't just help me have like spiritual joy, but helps us enjoy other things in life like friendships and working and just whatever honestly. It has to do with attitude as well I think. I've also been thinking a lot about what it means to be kind and how that relates with the commandment to love one another. I feel like as natural men our natural desires from interacting socially with friends and others is that we want them to make us feel happy and good about ourselves by interacting with us, and that they make us have fun, when really I think Christ told us that we should have the opposite intention, and interact with others to make them feel happy and loved and not vice versa. It has to do with losing you life and finding it instead as well.
I never thought I would love studying the scriptures as much as I did this week its weird to say it.
Ok I'm doing great here and we are working hard and well. Really excited to talk to everyone!!!
Love Elder Trevor Smith
Ok this week was pretty crazy busy. I'm kind of tired but it was really good too!
We started out with the usual craziness on Tuesday for the transfer madness. A good number of people from our zone, coronel, and lebu were all leaving for the south so they didn't have room for all there suitcases on the bus so we had to shepard a ton of them and help them switch out their tickets again for later ones etc it was totally crazy and a huge hastle. I got a little cold this week (I dont know why I get sick so often here) and so the whole day just sitting in the super hot bus terminal with a milion missionaries was super exhausting and boring. The crazier part is that a ton of the missionaries from lebu and cañete etc were going to have to take a bus to their sectors that night and then take one back to the same place the very next morning to come to the multizone conference with Elder Bragg so a few asked permission from the office to just stay in san pedro for the night so we had some surprise guests with us for the night which was fun but even more exhausting. We did divisions with them in the afternoon and got some extra work done that way which was nice, but both of them had very large personalities so me and Elder Oxborrow fell into our beds Tuesday night totally dead.
The next day was awesome because we shot over pretty early to the San Pedro stake center to set everything up for the zone conference w Elder Bragg (cleaning the chapel and setting up chairs etc). Then at like 9 the other zone leaders from coronel and lebu came too and the hna caps and we had a meeting with Elder Bragg which was super cool. He asked us all where we were from and i said San Clemente CA and then he got really excited and went on about how he had visited the stake and talked a lot about the dinner program and camp pendleton which was a fun connection and a nice slice of home. I'm sure he knows Mom and Dad too from visiting. The rest of the day was really spiritual and we learned a ton together from him and the mission president etc. There was a different kind of spirit there and the whole thing was about doing missionary work with a pure heart and trusting in the spirit and not our own abilities so it was really cool. I need to go over my notes again to remind me about it all. Sister Bragg showed a video I had forgotten about but really liked where Elder Holland talks about how him and his son prayed to know where to go when they got lost and ended up at a dead end. Very cool stuff and all about revelation. I love the mission because we get to recieve really awesome spiritual training and then get to apply it within an hour of hearing it in the field. It's way cool. I think there is more instruction and promise in the scriptures for missionaries than for anyone else.
Another cool thing to report is the success of the English class here! We have put up and handed out tons of flyers etc but we need to print out even more. At this point we have about 7 nonmembers coming to every class so that's awesome! We are still working on how to make the shift with some of them from English tutors to missionaries but we will figure it out. I expect to see some super cool results from that. I actually love teaching the class too. It's super fun and a good way to study the language myself too. Some members have gotten excited about it too.
There was a family here this week that there daughter had turned 8 recently and got baptized Thursday. We passed by a few days before and shared a video about baptism and invited them to invite their friends and they seemed really appreciated of the concern we showed. We offered some help too and I think they really trust us now. The baptism was awesome too and really spiritual and cool. I'm sure we will get some references there soon too.
We did an intercambio with Elder Huerta and Glach from boca sur to do an interview and i stayed in lagonillas with Elder Glach and it was really cool to meet him. He is a convert from Colorado that left on the mission literally the day he completed a year as a member of the church and has such a cool story and testimony. He is such a killer missionary and has such a good edge too from having heard the missionaries teach to him. Being with him really helped my faith grow and helped me know that there are really chosen people in every part of the world. I hope to be able to be with him in the mission more he's a great friend now.
Trying to think of what else happened. MC is doing great and is totally the definition of having a broken heart and contrite spirit. She really needs baptism and knows she needs it. The main problem we have is finding the time with her to teach her. She is looking for work and for that has very little time but we are working on it. She technically has a baptismal date for the 31st but we are going to try and put it for the 23rd I think and see what she thinks. I think she will get baptised that day. I'll let you know. It's crazy that the people who really do look for the gospel in their lives always seem to find it.
Wow Christmas is coming. The ward here is super amped about Ilumina el Mundo haha and is planning tons of service stuff and really carrying it all out well. We had a priesthood service in an old folks home that was really cool. As far as skyping goes we have a good house to do it in and we might do a test over there soon and make sure. I need you to let me know when you guys all can. I think we can do it pretty much anytime here between 3 and 7 so let me know. I'm not sure how much time I have but we will see.
It's been a really good week. I love it here. We had a ton of miracles at the very end of the week and it was crazy. We found a really cool family for one, and we will see where that goes but I have really high hopes for them!!! They are kind of very catholic but anyone can change. I really hope they will be a golden family! We also found some kind of old people and were talking to them and werent to excited about the lesson when their son walked in and straight up asked us "hey so Lehi is a descendant of Joseph of egypt right?" and we were just kind of jaw dropped for a second. We asked a few more questions and it turns out some other missionaries had given him a BoM a while ago and now he is reading in 2 Nephi 14 what. That was exciting and we will see where that goes!
Ok so I'm learning a lot about the sabbath day here right now. It was kind of weird because Elder Bragg really stressed sabbath day observence to us on Wednesday and it was kind of strange because as missionaries its kind of hard to break the sabbath day hahaha. It was really weird to me how much he stressed it and promised us that if we keep that commandment that we will have much more success so I studied it out a ton this week and learned a lot. The cool stuff I learned is that like I've mentioned before the main problem we have as missionaries is jsut going through the motions of what is asked of us and not doing it with the correct spirituality or intent. The scriptures mention that we need to "sanctify" the sabbath a lot, and that we need to do it with an attitude of prayer, worship, and service. It also mentions that we should celebrate the Lord's holy day. I learned as well that the Sabbath day observance is what seperates the Lords chosen people, and that that promise still applies to us today. I tried really hard this week to apply what I had learned and I could really tell a difference and I felt very spiritually and even spiritually renewed after. Way cool.
Ok I'm doing great and am very excited to talk to you all! ALso cool thing there is an Hno LC in our ward who was baptised in Arauco in 1979 by an Elder Mortenson so I'm assuming it must be the same one we know? pretty random and cool connection. He's old now but still remembers a lot and is very very active. Let me know hahaha
Ok love you all!
Elder Trevor Smith
Ok kind of an uneventful week but I'll stretch it for you no worries.
Cambio news is that there is no news me and Oxbutter are both staying here with Meiling and Cheney so I'm really happy about that! For once I get to stay with a comp more than one transfer and it's with my current comp whom I love to boot. We have made some good progress here too and we are going to keep cranking for another 6 weeks
We started out the week with a leadership council in Conce which was pretty cool. I think I mentioned last week that the we had talked to the APs about working with members and the ward etc and the cool thing is that the meetings Tuesday were all pretty much focused on that. It was cool to see our revelation get shared with the mission and to get some good input from the rest of the zone leaders on that stuff. It's always fun to see a lot of my good friends there like Elders Gomez and Willey etc. Only bummer is that we got home kind of late and lost some time but I really shouldn't complain because we are in the closest zone to conce where the mission office is. I think the coolest thing we learned was that the spirit needs to be with us while we work with members just as much as it needs to be there with us and investigators so that was really cool.
The rest of the week was pretty normal but we set up a gran intercambio in the zone and got to change things up a little to finish the transfer strong. The fun part is that we decide who goes where so I got to work with a friend of mine whos had a hard cambio Elder G from a city a little norht of LA. It's refreshing to be with someone from California hahahaa we are kind of different from all the Utah Elders hahaha it was fun. Hes a great friend and has a ton of potential as a missionary and hasn't had the success he deserves so it was fun to talk and work with him. We found out that SC high school played his high school in the semifinals of football or something last week and sc one hahaha that was really funny. We had a good day and I felt like I was able to minister to him well and give him a break from his hard sector. He just got called as a DL to Mulchen which will be really good for him.
One other fun thing this week is that clase de Ingles is picking up and we are getting some good students coming! Not anything crazy yet but we had a class of like 7 people recently. One member university student came Wednesday to study for one of her finals and got the best score of the class so she got really excited and brought some other people too which was great. Its a great way to change up the rhythum of the week too. Only bummer is that class is getting out but maybe we can get like a summer school angle for those really upset parents hahaha.
One super miracle was that we had thought that K. (the 16 year old girl who came to church) had stopped being interested because she denied a few of our phone calls so we were going to leave her alone for a couple weeks. The night of the ingles class happened to be a young womens activity and all of a sudden WE SEE HER THERE IN THE CULTURAL HALL like it was nothing at all! I guess the young womens presidency had gotten her number the Sunday she came and had invited her and there she was it was crazy! Such a cool relief. We havent had time to teach her yet but we will this week and that will be good.
M. and her daughter R. are good and progressing nicely but didn't make it to the church this week because of the rain booo. They both have a baptismal date for the 31st of December so that R. will be able to be baptised too. they are awesome and so chosen. We are really determined to have a baptism this transfer. Elder O only has 3 transfers left and wants to put it into overdrive and I'm way happy about that. It's been awesome.
Other than that it's just been really warm around here.
Oh ya we had a zone training meeting on Saturday and it turned out really nicely. We had a good object lesson and other stuff to teach about working with members and getting references. Everyone got really on board and were relieved for a new activity that's not knocking on doors especially in some really rich sectors here in this zone that have been dead for a long time. The hna trainers here gave a great lesson on the faith to find too and we had a cool team building game led by Elder Huerta a cool Chilean from the north and it all turned out really nice. A lot of cool people are leaving the zone now and some people i dont know are coming but im sure it will turn out well.
As far as my studies have been I feel like ive learned a lot about faith this week. We mention a lot about how faith without works is dead, but I think that especially as missionaries we have the opposite problem and that its safe to say that works without faith are dead too. A lot of time we go through all the motions about obeying and working but do it without really having true expectations that our labors will have fruits, and the tragic thing is that Christ often mentiones that all we need to do to recieve certain blessings is to believe that we will recieve them upon obeying. I've been thinking a lot about that this week. It definitely doesnt change the outcomes of teh agency of the people I speak to but definitely helps me have a better attitude which helps me work more effectively.
Another interesting thing I've been thinking about is how Christ teaches the Samaritan women that we need to worship the Father in "spìrit and in truth" (John 4:23 i think). It especially got stuck in my mind when I found that Alma uses those exact same words in the Book of Mormon too which is fascinating. I think it means that we need to worship inwardly rather than outwardly, or in "spirit", and that we need to be sincere about doing it, "in truth". I love the words of Christ.
Ok I'm out of time but excited for Christmas! Also this week a seventy is coming to the mission so I'll report on that. let me know your schedule for christmas so I can make plans accordingly etc.
Love you all and your letters!
Elder Trevor Smith
Elder Trevor Smith is a Mormon missionary in the Chile Concepcion Sur mission, the same mission where his dad served. Although this is Trevor's own mission, he grew up hearing about the beautiful land of Chile and the loving people that inhabit it. These are the letters from his experience there.